Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.
And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.
But he answered her not a word.
JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): Perhaps we receive few answers to prayer, because we do not intercede enough for others.
CHARLES BRIDGES (1794-1869): God exercises faith; but He never fails to honour it. He delays to answer prayer; but every word, every sigh, is registered for acceptance in His best time.
SAMUEL RUTHERFORD (1600-1661): It is said that He answered not a word, but it is not said, He heard not a word. These two differ much. Christ often heareth when He doth not answer—His not answering is an answer, and speaks thus—pray on, go on and cry, for the Lord holdeth his door fast bolted, not to keep you out, but that you may knock, and knock, and it shall be opened.
WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): “Knock, and it shall be opened unto you, Luke 11:9.” Volumes have been written upon prayer; but He who spake as never man spake, compares every thing in one word—knock. The allusion is to a person who wishes to excite attention, in order to obtain relief—he knocks…[But] how are we to knock?
ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): Knock with earnestness and perseverance.
SAMUEL RUTHERFORD: Sweet Jesus, the heir of all, prayed with tears and strong cries, once, O my Father; again, O my Father; and the third time, O my Father, ere He was heard.
WILLIAM JAY: When are we to knock?
SAMUEL RUTHERFORD: You take it hard that you are not answered, that Christ’s door is not opened at your first knock. David must knock often: O my God, I cry by day, and thou hearest not, and in the night season I am not silent, Psalm 22:2.
WILLIAM JAY: “Evening and morning and at noon,” says David, “will I pray and cry aloud,” Psalm 55:17. “Pray without ceasing,” says Paul, 1 Thessalonians 5:17. And, says our Lord, “Men ought always to pray, and not to faint,” Luke 18:1.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): The tendency to faint is ever present; but realize to Whom you belong. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts,” Zechariah 4:6. However weak you are, however faint, that is always true. The Spirit of God is in you…If you do not pray you will faint. So, when you feel faint, go to God and talk to Him about it; ask Him to give you strength and power to go on with what you are doing, realizing that it is His work, that it is “well-doing.” And He will reply to you and say, “Be not weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap if we faint not, Galatians 6:9. There is a glorious harvest coming.”
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): A strengthened soul is sometimes the best answer to prayer.
GEORGE MÜLLER (1805-1898): The great fault of the children of God is that they do not continue in prayer; they do not go on praying; they do not persevere. We should continue in prayer till the blessing is granted; without fixing to God at time when, or the circumstances under which, He should give the answer. Patience should be in exercise, in connection with our prayer.
MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): If an answer is not given to the first prayer, nor to the second, we must hold on, and hold out, till we receive an answer. As troubles are sent to teach us to pray, so they are continued to teach us to continue in prayer.
ADAM CLARKE: Answers to prayer are to be received by faith; but faith should not only accompany prayer while offered on earth, but follow it all its way to the throne of grace, and stay with it before the throne till dismissed with its answer to the waiting soul.
C. H. SPURGEON: After prayer, I look out for the answer; I expect to be heard; and if I am not answered, I pray again, and my repeated prayers are but fresh enquiries. I expect the blessing to arrive; I go and enquire whether there is any tidings of its coming. I ask; and thus I say, “Wilt thou answer me, Lord? Wilt thou keep thy promise? Or wilt thou shut up thine ear because I misunderstand my own wants and mistake thy promise?”
WILLIAM JAY: Jacob said, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me,” Genesis 32:26; and he prevailed. How? Perseveringly. The Lord does not always immediately appear to our joy. I waited patiently for the Lord,” says David; “and—at last—he inclined his ear unto me, and heard my cry,” Psalm 40:1.
MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): “Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour,” Matthew 15:28. She would not give over, though He gave her three repulses. So as she said, like Jacob, “I will not let thee go, until thou bless me.” And as Jacob, like a prince, so she, like a princess, prevailed with God, and obtained the thing which she desired.
ADAM CLARKE: This is one of the finest lessons in the book of God for a penitent, or for a discouraged believer. Look to Jesus! As sure as God is in heaven, so surely will He hear and answer thee.
MATTHEW HENRY: God’s ear is wont to be open to the prayers of His people, and His door of mercy to those that knock at it.
JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): For it is certain that God never shuts the door to those who knock, and never disappoints those who sincerely pray to Him. “I said not to the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain,” Isaiah 45:19…We ought to draw high consolation from being assured that it is not in vain for us to seek God. “Seek,” says Christ, “and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened; ask, and it shall be given to you.”
JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): Never did the hand of faith knock in vain at God’s gate.
JOHN GILL (1697-1771): Knock, and wait until the door is opened.
F. W. KRUMMACHER (1796-1868): If six times the answer should be, “There is nothing;” yet wait on. The seventh time, which is the proper and the Lord’s time, will give the answer you need.
C. H. SPURGEON: Answers to prayer are given to those whose hearts answer to the Lord’s command.
WILLIAM JAY: Here is the command: “knock.” And here is the promise: “it shall be opened.”